State Department’s Alec Ross visits USC Annenberg to discuss new communication technologies & US foreign policy

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CCLP hosted Alec Ross, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Senior Advisor for Innovation, for a visit to Los Angeles in February 2010 for a series of discussions about the impact of technology – current and potential – on key issues on the U.S. foreign policy and development agenda.

CCLP director Geoffrey Cowan and USC Annenberg Dean Ernest J. Wilson III brought together entertainment, media, and academic leaders to explore ways in which their experience and expertise might facilitate the application of mobile, web and other rapidly evolving technologies in areas like human rights, economic development and women’s empowerment.


Increased participation of the entertainment industry in U.S. cultural diplomacy was a central topic. Other participants included USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies, which demonstrated the cutting-edge work it is doing in web-based technologies as virtual training platforms for the U.S. Army, and USC Marshall’s Institute for Communication Technology Management, led by former Fox executive Lucy Hood.

Since joining the State Department in April 2009, Ross has spearheaded major technology-based initiatives in Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico and elsewhere.

To follow up on the visit, I will be helping CCLP develop a new project to explore ways to extend the reach of new technologies and regularize their availability and the processes through which they might be deployed by NGOs and others working in critical issue areas.

From left, Geoffrey Cowan, Alec Ross and Dean Ernest J. Wilson III

USC Marshall’s Lucy Hood presents research from the Institute for Communication Technology Management.

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Alec Ross and Jeremy Curtin